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PhD research contribution

Advancement in Dance/Heritage Research

In addition to providing some directions for future research and giving recommendations, there are some contributions that I hope my study has made to the advancement in the fields of heritage and dance studies. Indeed, the area of dance (and physical cultures in general) as a form of cultural heritage is still relatively new and underdeveloped.

Bridge the gap between the fields of Dance and Cultural Heritage Studies

Firstly, my study has endeavoured to bridge the gap between the fields of dance and cultural heritage studies in a systematic way, which will be needed if dance genres (and other physical cultures) are to be safeguarded in the future as part of the cultural heritage of humanity (either by UNESCO or by other organisations).

Starting to bridge this gap has allowed me to identify issues that are specific to dance in relation to its safeguarding.

Also, as dance is an embodied activity, I have highlighted the role of the human body in cultural heritage, something that has been so far too often overlooked in cultural heritage studies.

Building a Holistic Model of Dance/Heritage

Secondly, by adopting an interdisciplinary approach (inspired by Prokosch Kurath’s [1960] positioning on dance studies), I have drawn from philosophical and sociological theories (Merleau-Ponty; Bourdieu; Giddens and to a lesser extent Urry and others) as well as from the fields of dance, anthropology, performance studies, cultural heritage and neurosciences to build a holistic model of dance/heritage, which points towards overcoming tangible/intangible dichotomies.

I hope that this model will be a useful tool for other scholars to help them develop their own context-specific approaches to ICH.

Methodical Historic Reconstruction of Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian Belly dance)

Thirdly, for the field of raqs sharqi, I have provided a methodical historic reconstruction (or at least the first step towards its further development) using a variety of sources and analysing both the form of the dance and the opinions around it.

This had not been done before for raqs sharqi in a comprehensive way and to such level of detail.

Creation of Skype Research Paper

Fourthly, I have used online research methods (such as Skype, online videos analysis and netnography), in addition to face-to-face interviews, and combined them with an ethnochoreological approach and with sociocultural analysis.

Added to the Intangible and Tangible Cultural Heritage Disourse

Fifthly, as evidenced in Lo Iacono and Brown (2016), I have systematically introduced the debate about the relationship between intangible and tangible elements in cultural heritage.

Lastly, I have raised the issue of transculturality and cultural heritage, posing the question of how to safeguard heritage forms that were always transcultural.

Hitherto, much of the debate is centred around activities that are assumed to be monocultural, but my work on raqs sharqi shows that, even when this was not the case, authentic elements might still be identified.

This research project has been a long but very enjoyable journey for me, in which I have grown as a human being and also, I think, improved as a raqs sharqi dancer by understanding more deeply this dance and its roots.

Drawing on Trisha Brown’s (2017) statement (from the website of the 2017 International Dance Day, shortly before she sadly passed away) that dance ‘expands the universal language of communication, giving birth to joy, beauty and the advancement of human knowledge’, I hope that my passion for dance, expressed through this research, has achieved its aim by providing a contribution (even if tiny) to the knowledge of humanity.

Next Page > References used in the PhD research.

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Hi - I'm Dr Valeria Lo Iacono and I am a dance researcher with a PhD in dance as a form of living heritage. I also teach belly dance and love to travel to discover new dances around the world. I have worked also as an academic and in the UK and in Korea. Thank you for visiting my site.